J.D. Power Picks Apart Car Insurer’s Marketing Campaign

A new report from J.D. Power and Associates analyzes recent advertising efforts of four major U.S. car insurance companies and their effects on brand awareness and quote rates, with a focus on how the recent launch of Allstate’s “Mayhem” campaign has influenced consumers’ perception and actions.

According to the marketing-research company, Allstate and State Farm have been stuck with the task of shaking the perception of being “expensive and serious.” Allstate has tried to overcome this notion by launching its “Mayhem” advertising campaign in May 2010 and by beefing up its marketing budget by more than half between 2009 and 2010.

Auto insurance companies' annual ad spendingThe report says that Allstate has received increased attention in social spheres since “Mayhem” was introduced, the insurance provider’s quote rate has increased and its unaided brand awareness has also grown.

“When a shopper has unaided awareness of an insurer, they are nearly four times as likely to obtain a quote from that insurer and six times more likely to purchase from that company, compared with shoppers who may recognize the brand but for whom the company is not top of mind,” J.D. Power said in its management discussion.

The report says that four of the nation’s largest insurers — GEICO, State Farm, Allstate and Progressive — have been spending increasingly large amounts of money on pumping up their awareness. According to J.D. Power and Associates, these four companies accounted for more than half of the $5 billion that the private passenger auto insurance market spent on marketing in 2010.

For those four insurers, “unaided brand awareness” between 2008 and 2011 has increased for all except GEICO. Progressive saw the most growth, with a 12 percentage-point increase between 2008 and 2011. Allstate saw an increase of 2 percentage points during that period, while State Farm’s increased by 4 percentage points.

Aside from throwing money at the problem, the report also discusses the growing use of humor in insurance company ads.

“To the degree that humorous ad campaigns can break through the advertising clutter and catch the viewer’s attention,” the management discussion says, “they help build brand awareness — especially when multiple impressions help to reinforce the message.”

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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